Think your dream job is out of reach? Think again! With the right approach, finding your dream job is actually pretty simple.

People often make the mistake of not finding a job that matches their personality and culture fit and try to find a job that will meet their income requirements. What job seekers need to realize before going in for interviews is that there are jobs and then there are dream jobs. A job is something you seek and accept to meet your income goals and beef up your resume. Your dream job isn’t only about the money or even about what you’ll be doing all day, it’s about finding a place where you truly fit and a company that fits you. To find your dream job, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for and make a plan to get it.

#1: Get to know yourself

To find the job of your dreams, start by understanding who you are, how you work best, and what you want to do with your life. Once you know these things, you’ll be more prepared to find your dream jobs at companies that match your unique style. Ask yourself some difficult questions such as these:

  • What’s my personality like? Consider taking a personality test to learn where you fall on the spectrum of traits like introversion/extraversion and organization/spontaneity. The more you know about your personality, the easier it will be to find a job that is the perfect fit. Likewise, the more you know about a company’s personality, the more likely you are to find a place that fits you. It’s one thing to know about your personality traits and how you like to work, it’s another to understand how the people in your potential dream company like to work. Find out where you fit before you go in for the interview.
  • What is my purpose? Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish through your job. Are you going for something that you’ll love or are you going for something you think will improve your professional standing? If you’re looking at jobs for the wrong reasons, it’s going to be hard to find a position you’re truly happy in. Don’t be afraid to have lofty ideals or big dreams, such as making an impact on people’s lives. There are more jobs out there for people like you than you think, so whatever your dreams are, be honest with yourself about them.
  • What’s my ideal working environment? Not all offices are created equally. Some environments allow you freedom, while others offer supervision. You may be expected to socialize with your coworkers, or you may work independently; you may be expected to take initiative, or you may be given direction. The way you like to work and the way the rest of your potential office likes to work might differ. Make sure you know how you like to get work done before you set up the first interview this way, you can go into the interview prepared to ask if you’ll be a good fit. Whatever your preferences are, you’ll thrive in an environment that supports your dream work style and will likely flounder in one that doesn’t.

#2: What makes you better than the competition?

Let’s face it, there’s a lot of people out there searching for their dream jobs, and their dream job might be your dream job! So, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to show the hiring manager you’re worth their time and effort? More importantly, how is your culture going to fit in with theirs? As you’re working your way through the job search process, make sure you’re keeping these questions in mind the whole time and make sure the answers to each stand out on your resume.

Even the experiences you don’t think matter much could have a huge impact on your dream company’s work environment. Do some research on the current company culture to see how your personality can improve employee well-being overall. Hiring managers want to make sure the people coming into their company will not only be a good culture fit but will enhance the already established culture.

#3: Think about past jobs

When it comes to finding your dream job, your past can give you the keys to your future. Thinking about what you enjoyed doing and what you hated doing can help you figure out the details of your dream job. Looking into the moments that have been really great and the moments that have been absolutely crappy gives you valuable insights into what you’ll want in the future. If you’ve ever walked in on a Monday and thought about all the reasons the weeks are going to be bad, it’s not because it’s a Monday. It’s because your job isn’t a good fit. On the flip side, if you’ve enjoyed going into the office day in and day out, think about what the management and coworkers in your office did to make it an enjoyable experience.

Jobs are rarely black and white. If you hated a past job, challenge yourself to list five things you loved about it. Similarly, if you loved your job, think about aspects you hated, and how you can use these positions to still find future employment for your next stepping stone. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably starting to look for a way out. So, why have you stuck around for so long and why are you choosing right now to move on? Think about it, find some answers, and figure out how you can use them to find a dream job to fit all of your needs.

#4: Talk to your network

Chances are someone knows something about the company you’re looking at. Chat with those people to see if they think you’ll be a good fit or if you have something to offer the company. This is also a great time for you to find out more about what the company values and if their values align with yours.

Don’t underestimate the people around you, especially those who have been in the field for a while. They have a lot of great insight into which companies value culture fit and those that are more about revenue than employee happiness.

#5: Tailor your job search to your needs

Once you’ve gathered all the information you need about yourself for your dream job, it’s time to start looking. No job will ever just fall into your lap, so there’s no substitute for a thorough job search. However, you can more easily find your dream job if you’re looking for a job that fits you. by thinking about the best way to find it. For example, if you are interested in a creative field, look for companies that match the criteria you discovered from the first two steps. Once you have those positions in mind, start narrowing them down by positions or opportunities they have in the field you’re looking to get in to.

Keep in mind that you might not start at the position or pay grade you’ve dreamed of but if there’s room for growth you should still consider the opportunity. Many job boards today don’t go into how culture fit and growth opportunities impact the job search. Using culture fit tools or help from job agencies can help make the process easier. Be smart about how to strategize your next steps to help get you to your dream career goals.

#6: Use interviews properly

Interviews should not just be to impress your potential boss or hiring manager. Instead, approach them as opportunities to see whether the company is a good fit for you and your needs. Prior to the interview, be sure to thoroughly research the company online to assess the company culture. Be yourself during the job interview, and then ask questions at the end to find out whether the job matches your dream job description. Don’t forget to send the interviewer a thank you note for his or her time. If you are polite and authentic during the interview and are talking with a company that has an open, clear management and human resources department, you should find and, eventually, be hired for a job that matches what you are looking for.

Happy job hunting!

This article was originally published here.